London is a great city with plenty to do. It is definitely one of those places everyone should go to at least once. But just like any other place, there is a lot to learn before you can effectively plan a smooth trip there.   Read on for a guide to traveling through London with ease.

Traveling Through London

Whenever you are planning to travel to any destination, the time of year is always something to take into great consideration. Like most places, London doesn’t necessarily have a “best” time of year to visit. It all depends on personal preference and the type of activities you are hoping to do.  

When to Go

In London’s case, the latter part of spring, the summer, and the early part of fall is a great time to visit if you wish to explore the streets and parks while enjoying a comfortable climate.

However, the winter brings a festive holiday wonderland that is especially worth experiencing at least once.  

Once you’ve determined the time of year you wish to go, the smooth traveling has already begun.

Arrival

When traveling to London, most people will arrive in the city by plane or train. Popular airports that may be used are:  

  • Heathrow International Airport on the westside.
  • London Luton Airport on the northside.
  • Gatwick Airport on the lower side of central London.
  • London City Airport on the Royal Docs
  • London Stansted Airport on the Northside.

  All of these airports come with their pros and cons. Heathrow is the main airport in which international travelers come to London, while the others tend to cater to shorter flights within Europe or from New York City.   One major thing to pay attention to when figuring out your arrival is where you are staying. Your travel can become a lot smoother if the airport which you use is close to the place in which you are staying.

Things to Do

There are plenty of things to do and enjoy while visiting London. It’s best to have an idea of what you want to do the most upon arrival. You may even want to consider creating your own daily itinerary. Here are a few options for you:

Museums

In a place like London, spending a rainy day going from one museum to the other could be an excellent way to enjoy your travel. Especially in the cold winter. London has a plethora of completely free museums. So, choose a day to visit them allowing yourself to be transported back in time.

The London Eye

Of course, there is the London Eye. This massive ferris wheel, if you could even call it that at this point, is a tourism staple of the city. Giving you striking views and a peaceful thirty-minute adventure.

Things You Should Know

If someone were to visit your town and ask you “what are a few things I should keep in mind while I’m here?” You would probably be able to instantly rattle off the best restaurants, the police speed traps, the beautiful scenery on the other side of town, etc… You’d be able to let them know the specific things that the internet may not always be able to tell people. Well, here are a few of those things: 

Luggage Storage

Travel days can be the worst. For example, have you ever gotten to your destination but had to wait a few hours to check into your room? Having to carry your luggage all over the city, or sit in one place with it for a couple of hours can put a damper on your day.   Utilizing all of the options for luggage storage in London is the best way to avoid this. There are spots all over the city that allow you to drop your bags off so you can walk around hands-free for however long you need to. It is also very useful if you’ve been shopping and decide you want to go to a museum, as museums typically don’t let larger bags in.

Best Way to Get Around the City

If you plan on traveling all over the city you should consider purchasing an Oyster Card. Similar to New York’s MetroCard, the card allows you to come and go utilizing London’s transportation system, The Underground.

Walk

While getting the Oyster Card is very easy and time effective, the best way to truly explore the city is by walking above ground. This allows you to really live on the streets and experience the culture. If you are only traveling a few blocks, walking is a great way to go.

Cultural Norms

Just like any culture, London is probably going to be a little bit different than yours. For example, in the U.S. tipping at restaurants is customary but in the U.K. a twelve and a half percent service charge is applied at restaurants. So, no tip is completely fine, but if you leave a tip ten to fifteen percent is plenty.

Where You Should Stay

Just like any place, London has its good and its bad parts. However, a good rule of thumb is to stay near the places you wish to visit or stay near the airport or train station you are using for travel. Ultimately, this will ensure easy travel within the city and typically land you in a safer area.  

The Bottom Line

London is a beautiful city with a rich history. Having no shortage of activities to do and sights to see, you are going to want to plan out your trip well.

If you wish to travel there you first should establish when you want to go, what part of town you are arriving in, what you want to do when you get there, learn the ins and outs of the culture, and then find where you want to stay.

If you follow this guide, you will be well on your way to a successful and enjoyable trip to one of the most character-filled cities in the world.